USA clothing retailer Gap is the latest company to apologize to China for failing to reflect Beijing's territorial claims - on a map shown on a T-shirt for sale in North America. The map also appeared to leave out southern Tibet and the disputed South China Sea, the state-owned Global Times said, adding that it drew hundreds of complaints on China's Weibo microblogging platform.
"Gap Inc. respects China's sovereignty and territorial integrity".
Gap, in a statement posted on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, admitted that a Gap brand T-shirt sold in some overseas markets "mistakenly failed to reflect the correct map of China". "We sincerely apologize for this unintentional error". Taiwanese media had angry articles accusing the Gap of "kowtowing" to China, while the English-language Global Times adopted an approving tone of the decision to apologies.
It is available online on the Gap Factory U.S. website, as part of the "City T-shirt in Jersey" range.
The US clothing brand is the latest worldwide company to find itself in hot water over Chinese territorial issues. "We are doing internal checks to correct the mistake as soon as possible", Gap said.
The clothing brand, based in the USA, is the most recent worldwide business to be in trouble with the government of China over that country's territorial issues.
Gap did not say if the product would be pulled from other markets where it is being sold.
Earlier this month, the White House sharply criticised China's efforts to force foreign airlines to change how they described Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau on their websites as "Orwellian nonsense". Each of the companies has subsequently apologized.
"If they treat the Taiwan people so unfriendly I think most of the people from Taiwan will choose other carriers instead of Air Canada", said Charles Chang, president of the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce in BC.
In a rare statement issued by the White House May 5, the USA government slammed China's demand as "Orwellian nonsense" and said it deemed the request "Chinese political correctness".